By Anastasios Andreou – 2nd year LLB student
Auschwitz – Birkenau, is the largest former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp section of the Auschwitz complex. It was located in Nazi-Germany occupied Poland back in 1940-1945 during World War II. As recorded by history, the camp was responsible for the death of more than one million people, with the vast majority being Jews.
Auschwitz has unquestionably left a remarkable stigma to the society in general. It was initially constructed to hold Polish prisoners in forced labour, but subsequently contributed to what is known as the Holocaust. The Holocaust brought the death of about six million Jews by the Nazis, who believed that they were biologically and racially superior over Jews, considering them as a threat towards their racial community. It is essential to point out that apart from execution, gas chambers were also used as a method of murder. The numbers and methods aforementioned speak for themselves and allow no possibility for someone to question the harsh reality and disgrace of these actions.
Visiting Auschwitz – Birkenau can undeniably be emotionally impossible for some to endure, as it is home to one of the most inhumane crimes recorded during WWII. Nevertheless, it can be used as a great tool of education, especially for young people, by providing a terrifyingly applicable example towards modern day discrimination, hatred, racism and prejudice. With that being said, the issue of having another Holocaust taking place in the 21st century is not to be raised with ease. However, such an affiliation is to be considered as an indication of what extremism in controversial instances can lead to. Exposing young people to the horror of a place like Auschwitz would definitely be an overwhelming experience for them. Therefore, they will be better able to understand what the victims went through and to what extent their human rights, freedom and dignity have been denied and violated. Consequently, they will eventually embrace and subconsciously appreciate, at a greater degree, these fundamental virtuous principles. In addition, Auschwitz will not only sensitize them but considering the fact that they are the future generation of the world, it will further implant a base of ethics and morality into their minds and hearts, preventing them from acting likewise in similar situations.
It is important not to let historical events like this fade away through time. This is due to the fact that for as long as these events remain in our memories, they will always be reminding us about the unethical discrimination and disgraceful treatments by the Nazis towards certain groups of people that they considered inferior. Hence, this period can be reasonably given the title as one of the ‘darkest’ times throughout all known human history.
 Jack R. Fischel ‘The Holocaust’ (Greenwood Publishing Group 1998) 47  Michel Berenbaum ‘Auschwitz’ Encyclopaedia Britannica <https://www.britannica.com/place/Auschwitz> accessed 30 November 2018  Ibid 1. 117  Ibid 1. 49  Ibid 1. 118  James R. Norton ‘The Holocaust: Jews, Germany, and the National Socialists’ (Rosen Pub Group 2008) 20  Ibid 1. 47
Late November of last year, the Law school of UCLan Cyprus in cooperation with AEQUITAS organised an essay competition which would provide five lucky winners with a 300 euro stipend for the field trip to Auschwitz- Birkenau.
Candidates had to prepare a 500 word essay on ‘why they think it is important for a young person to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau’.
Well done for winning a place Anastasios!